Social and environmental resolutions comprised 40 percent of all shareholder proposals in 2011, according to a recent Ernst & Young report, up from 30 percent in 2010. Average voting support for these proposals was also up from 10 percent in 2005 to 21 percent in 2011.

Ernst & Young also found that the number of corporate responsibility resolutions to reach the critical threshold of 30 percent support—the level at which many boards begin to respond to shareholder proposals—had risen, improving from 2.6 percent in 2005 to 31.6 percent this proxy season.

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